17 Gator Bites for Tuesday, May 7

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» The relationship between Dwyer High School head coach Jack Daniels and the Florida Gators has soured. According to ESPN 106.3 out of West Palm Beach, FL, Daniels is angry that two former Dwyer players who committed to Florida but have since left the program (quarterback Jacoby Brissett and tight end Gerald Christian) did not get the opportunities they were promised with the team. “I’ve said all along, I don’t think he’s been given the fair shot which was said was going to happen,” Daniels said in regards to Brissett. “It was made clear to him, and to everybody else, that it didn’t matter what Jeff Driskel did, it was [Driskel’s] job and going into next fall, it’s going to be the same way. I think he had no choice. If I was quarterback on that team last year, I might have been able to get some wins, the way their defense was playing.” He continued: “The way Jacoby was handled and the decision that was made…if it was my kid, I wouldn’t expect anybody to treat my kid like that, and I don’t think anybody should treat anybody like that. I think it was a complete lie about how he was going to be given a fair chance and I don’t think there’s anything to dispute that there wasn’t a lie.”

Despite all of this – including similar comments about how Christian “was frustrated and felt like the coaches were lying to him” – Daniels (a Florida alumnus) said he will not dissuade his students from playing for the Gators. “I can’t hold a grudge forever and I still talk to Coach [Will] Muschamp,” he said. “I would never steer a kid away.”

» Former Florida wide receiver Stephen Alli was selected with the second pick in the sixth round of the 2013 CFL Draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers over the weekend. Alli, who would have been chosen higher had he committed to playing in the CFL next season, will instead attend graduate school and continue his education at UF.

» He may currently be a free agent hoping for the opportunity to continue his NFL career, but former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow received a shred of good news this week when Forbes named him the most influential athlete in the United States. “A unique set of QB strengths and weaknesses and an affinity for wearing his Christian faith on his sleeve combine to make Tebow a compelling public figure, even as an NFL backup,” staff member Tom Van Riper wrote.

Check out 14 more interesting bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
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Redskins nab Gators TE Jordan Reed with No. 85 overall pick in third round of 2013 NFL Draft

Round 3 – No. 85 (overall)
Jordan Reed, TE
Washington Redskins


Height: 6’2″ – Weight: 236 lbs.
Age: 21 – Class: Junior (redshirt)

The Florida Gators matched their day one total with two players selected on the second evening of the 2013 NFL Draft when tight end Jordan Reed was selected by the Washington Redskins late in the third round with the No. 85 overall pick.

Reed, who initially committed to Florida as a quarterback, was not able to settle into his role as a tight end until his redshirt sophomore season when he registered 307 yards on 28 receptions with two touchdowns. He did not truly step up as a reliable pass catcher for UF until his redshirt junior season in 2012 as he led the Gators in receptions (45) and receiving yards (559) but found his way into the end zone on just three occasions.

Nevertheless, a number of NFL teams were intrigued by his athleticism and believe he can be used as an H-back, similar to how New England currently utilizes former Florida TE Aaron Hernandez. Reed’s lack of consistency and relative inability to block have been two knocks against him, which is why he went from being considered the third-best tight end available to the 5-6 range for his position.

“We took a look at Reed. He was a guy that has a great ability to make people miss. When he has the ball in his hands, he can do things with the ball that are very athletic, something a lot of tight ends can’t do,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “We weren’t necessarily looking for a tight end, but when he was there, we couldn’t pass him up.”

“I have not had any contact whatsoever with the Redskins,” Reed said after being drafted. “I had no idea I was getting picked by Washington. It was a big surprise to me and I am just so excited.”

Reed on Friday became the first Gators tight end selected since Hernandez (No. 113, 2010) and the 12th player from the program ever picked by the Redskins. He is seen as another weapon for second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III and will join fellow Florida quarterback Rex Grossman and guard Maurice Hurt (No. 217, 2011) in Washington.

“I’m very happy for Jordan,” said head coach Will Muschamp. “He causes match up problems for defenses and is extremely athletic for his size. He hasn’t been playing tight end for very long and will continue to grow into the position.”

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Florida Gators 2013 NFL Draft viewer’s guide

OGGOA LIVE COVERAGE – April 25-27 – Florida Gators in the 2013 NFL Draft

Former Florida Gators are expected to come off the board quickly and often during the 2013 NFL Draft with the team assured of having at least eight players drafted over the three-day event for the first time since 2010. Florida has a legitimate chance to set a new school record with 10 or more players chosen from April 25-27.

As fans of the 32 NFL teams look on nationwide, those supporting the Gators are just as excited to see where the players they used to watch on Saturdays will be playing on Sundays in the fall.

The fact of the matter is that few things are certain when it comes to the NFL Draft. Trades can occur at any moment and each team views its most pressing needs and what each player on its board brings to the table differently than analysts do. Rather than try to predict the unknown variables and tell you what could happen, OGGOA is here to set your expectations for what should go down Thursday-Saturday.

» Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd will be the first Florida player selected but may fall short of being the highest-drafted player in program history.

Over the last few months no first-round player has seen more hype as it relates to his rise in the draft than Floyd, who started the process as a pick in the teens or early 20s and is now believed to be a consensus top-10 selection and the top player at his position in the draft. Most mock drafts heading into Thursday have Floyd slotted at No. 3 overall to the Oakland Raiders; a selection there would make him the highest-drafted player in Gators history, tying him with DT Gerard Warren (No. 3 – 2001), wide receiver Wes Chandler (No. 3 – 1978) and quarterback Steve Spurrier (No. 3 – 1967). However, there is no guarantee that Oakland will stay at No. 3 overall; in fact, multiple reports on Thursday have the Raiders preferring to trade back in the draft because the front office has so many holes to fill on its roster. Should Oakland move out of its spot, Floyd could still go No. 3 overall (to a different team) or may even fall to the bottom half of the top-10 depending what other moves are made. The only thing known for sure is that Floyd will be the first (and possibly only) Florida player drafted on Thursday and will be the first Gators defensive lineman selected in the first since Derrick Harvey (No. 8 – 2008).

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Jeremiah evaluates Gators for 2013 NFL Draft

Despite being incredibly busy this week, the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah sat down with OGGOA late Thursday night for a wide-ranging look at the Florida Gators available in the 2013 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the device used to record the detailed conversation froze during the process of saving the interview and the content disappeared. However, detailed notes were taken so not all was lost.

Below is an abridged version of Jeremiah’s thoughts on most of the Gators that are expected to be selected at some point during the draft.

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd
Projection: First round (No. 3 overall)
Analysis: “When I started the process of watching him, I thought, ‘This is a top-10 pick all day long.’ And then I picked up the phone and called a couple friends around the league that I highly respect. All of them think it’s a no-brainer, he’s a slam-dunk top-10 pick. He has the athletic ability to play the three-technique and get up the field. That’s where he belongs. I think he’s got NFL size, first and foremost. You have to like that about him. You’re looking for qualities that you have that are kind of elite qualities. If you’re picking somebody up in the top part of the draft, you don’t want somebody who is kind of good at everything. You want somebody who has some elite characteristics, and to me, his quickness is elite. He’s got quick feet, quick hands. He’s very nimble, athletic. I just love the way he can get around blocks. A lot of times guys get around blocks and they’re segmented in their movement. He doesn’t do that; he can wrap around blockers all in one motion. It’s not a two-step process. That’s stuff that kind of jumps out at you when you watch him. He’s got lateral range and can make plays down the line of scrimmage. I think he’s just tapping into what he can be as a pass rusher. He has all the tools. He’s just scratching the surface of what he can do.”

Safety Matt Elam
Projection: Late-first, early-second round (top 30 overall)
Analysis: Jeremiah said the main drawback with Elam, of course, is his height (5’10”) but that otherwise he is a fantastic player and prospect. In addition to being good in coverage, Elam can be put at the line of scrimmage as a blitzer and has proven that he can play nickel cornerback. Jeremiah loves him as a possibility for Baltimore but not as a replacement for Ed Reed. Rather, he thinks compares better to Bernard Pollard, another safety the team lost this offseason.

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Mayock high on most Gators in 2013 NFL Draft

In exactly one week’s time, the 2013 NFL Draft will commence from Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY. Florida Gators defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, a consensus top-10 pick, will be in attendance but plenty of his teammates will be watching just as intently hoping to hear their names called.

The NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, the featured analyst on the network’s coverage and one of the most respected draftniks around, is bullish on most of the players coming out of Florida and has given high marks to many Gators during his pre-draft evaluations.

Mayock believes that Floyd, who could very well become the highest-drafted player in program history if he goes in the top three picks of the first round, is the cream of the crop and has him listed as his No. 2 overall prospect.

“That tells you how much I like Sharrif Floyd. What I love about the kid is he’s a prototypical three-technique, a defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. His quickness and ability to get up the field and disrupt the pass game is unique for a defensive tackle. If you can get a defensive tackle that can affect the pass game, you got something special,” he said on Thursday.

“He’s also stout enough to play the run. I’ve got him No. 2 on my board. I love the kid.”

Also a potential first-round selection is safety Matt Elam, who Mayock thinks will be selected in the 25-32 overall pick range. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he slid into the second round, but I like him as a first-round safety,” he said.

Mayock addressed Elam’s primary flaw, his height, which is the main reason why he is not a sure-fire first-rounder.

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Josh Evans – Path to 2013 NFL Draft: Workouts

Through the 2013 NFL Draft from April 25-27, Florida Gators safety and 2012 leading tackler Josh Evans will be keeping fans up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry exclusively here at OGGOA.

Evans’s sixth entry covers his thoughts on spring practice, first team workout (New England Patriots) and decision to leave Gainesville, FL a week earlier than scheduled. Evans also details a busy week ahead as he has meetings set with three teams.

Though it has been a few weeks since I last checked in, most of my time has been spent working out, staying in shape, just getting better and hanging out with my teammates that were still in Gainesville doing the same thing. I’ve also been fielding calls from my agent and some teams just as he helps get my meetings set up and my schedule all together heading into the draft.

For workouts, usually it was me, Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins and sometimes Omarius Hines would come out there with us, too. We’re all close friends so we would just schedule a time and go in and workout. Maybe we would call someone else to come in and throw us the ball, too.

I know before the Pro Day and everything [Hines] may not have been on a lot of teams’ radar, but before I left to come back to New Jersey, he told me what sounded like some good news. He was originally expecting to wind up somewhere as an undrafted free agent but now it is looking like he might be a late-round pick, sixth or seventh round. If he can do that, that would be great for him to get on a team. And it’s a plus for the Gators to have another player drafted.

In between working out and chilling with the guys, a bunch of us would stop by spring practice. Florida is looking like it’s going to be a tough, physical team again next year. You can see a lot of the younger players really working hard, looking to make a statement. The coaching staff was getting after it as usual, getting on those guys and definitely getting the best out of them when they step on the field.

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FOUR NFL BITS: Tebow, Murphy, Reed, Evans

1 » Contrary to comments from the front office and coaching staff of the New York Jets indicating that quarterback Tim Tebow is currently in the team’s plans to be part of the competition at his position for 2013, ESPNNewYork.com reported Tuesday that “nothing has changed with regard to Tebow’s status on the team.” A league source tells Dan Graziano that “the Jets are holding out hope they can trade him and are in no rush to do so. They could stretch the process out to the draft, but failing a trade, the Jets will release him, the source said.”

2 » Wide receiver Louis Murphy is the only former Florida Gators free agent to sign with a team thus far in the 2013 offseason as the New York Giants decided to bring him on board with a one-year contract last week. Speaking with the SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday, general manager Jerry Reese raved about what Murphy brings to the table. “I think he’s going to add another dimension to our offense,” Reese said. “We have a scout named Jeremiah Davis and he talks about guys being a ‘knife.’ This guy is a ‘knife.’ This guy can take the top off your defense. He gives us a different dimension in our offense [...] a deep threat that we haven’t had. We haven’t had a guy who can run like this guy.” Murphy should enter the season as the Giants’ fourth or fifth receiver but may still see a good amount of time on the field next year.

3 » Greg Cosell, the senior producer for NFL Films, recently praised what he has seen from Gators tight end Jordan Reed. Cosell wrote on Twitter that he loved what he saw from Reed on tape and believes he has the chance to be the next successful ‘Joker’ tight end in the league, comparing him (as many other have done already) to New England Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez.

4 » Florida safety Josh Evans has private workouts scheduled with the Jets and Patriots, OGGOA learned on Wednesday. Evans, who turned heads with his performances at the 2013 NFL Combine and Pro Day, is beginning to draw some significant buzz in league circles. According to the National Football Post:

While Evans has been viewed as the “other safety” at Florida throughout the 2012 season and not regarded as a top prospect, sources at the Florida Pro Day told us that Evans had a strong all-around workout. Although not an explosive athlete, Evans was smooth throughout the positional drills staying over his feet and changing directions easily. One NFL person in attendance told us that it was clear to him that Evans is the more flexible and fluid athlete of the two safeties, Matt Elam being the other, and that he felt Evans was also better in coverage in games. Although his workout was impressive and we think he warrants being selected above Elam, the sources we spoke with said that while they agreed with our evaluation of Evans as a better prospect that Elam will still likely be selected first.

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Former Florida Gators shine at 2013 Pro Day

Nineteen former Florida Gators football players – including five that have been off the team for more than a year – participated in Pro Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on a rain-covered Florida Field in Gainesville, FL on Tuesday.

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams were in attendance though many head coaches and general managers remained at their teams’ headquarters considering Pro Day was being held on the same day as the start of NFL free agency for the 2013 season.

“It’s an exciting time. That’s how Pro Day is supposed to look at Florida,” head coach Will Muschamp said after the event. “All 32 teams are here and that’s how it ought to be. As we continue to do a good job evaluating in recruiting and developing our players, which we will, our Pro Days will continue to look that way. Really proud of these guys that worked out today and appreciate all their contributions to the University of Florida. I want to congratulate our staff on doing an outstanding job developing these guys.”

“I think they’ve all worked extremely hard,” he continued. “They understand what’s at stake. These guys are at a great time in their life. Here they are the verge of playing in the arena on Sunday. That’s something, as you look at, you’re a football player and taking that next step. They understand what’s at stake. I’m proud of what I saw today just form the standpoint of how they worked and how they conducted themselves, the positive feedback I’ve gotten from general managers, head coaches, assistants and the National Football League of the character of our guys and how they handled themselves at the combine. All of it has been ultra-positive. I’ve been real pleased about that.”

Below are evaluations on and quotes from many of the Gators that participated on Tuesday. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Lerentee McCray and tight end Jordan Reed did not work out but will in a separate, private Pro Day event on March 22 in The Swamp. Reed did still participate in some on-field drills Tuesday.

Muschamp had nothing but high praise for Floyd when asked about him potentially going in the top five picks. “Turn on the tape,” he said. “The guy can anchor, he can play the run, he’s got great initial quickness, he can rush the passer. He’s everything you want from an inside player. The NFL teams, they don’t like to project. I’ve been there; I know. They want to see guys that play in 3-4 and 4-3. They’ve seen him play two-gap. They’ve seen him play nose. They’ve seen him play four-technique, They’ve seen him play one-gap, three-technique, five-technique, nine-technique. They’ve seen him play outside; they’ve seen him play inside.

“From a general manager prospective, talking to his owner and telling him he wants to spend money on a player – a clean player that has no issues off the field – that’s a very smart pick, in my opinion. You got a guy that can be a very dominating player that has got so many positive things surrounding him and he’s been exposed positionally to so many different things within our scheme.”

Other former Gators in attendance to root on the younger guys included wide receivers Reidel Anthony and Riley Cooper, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, linebacker Mike Peterson, running back Chris Rainey and linebacker Brandon Siler.

Safety Matt Elam

» NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock (via Florida’s website): “On tape he plays so close to the line of scrimmage, especially in their nickel package, he’s on the slot. He’s quick-footed, an aggressive tough kid. What I saw today was what I wanted to see, his ball skills, especially on deep balls. I could see him open his hips, take angles like a deep half or deep third. I thought he really helped himself today.”

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